Are there old trading cards in your attic? Do you want to sell your sports cards but don't know where to begin? You can make some extra cash by selling those cards right now. You might be surprised to learn how much your sports cards are worth depending on how old they are, the era they come from, who they feature, and their overall condition.
Today websites like eBay, Craigslist, Facebook and more make it easy to sell your trading cards. Read on for everything you need to know to start turning your collection into cash.
What Trading Cards Do You Have?
The best place to start when selling your trading cards is knowing exactly what you own. Important details such as the date of the cards, whether are there any famous baseball, basketball or football players, and the card's condition will help you determine their value.
Manufacturing & Copyright Dates
The most important information you’ll want to check on your cards is the manufacturing and copyright dates, usually located on the back of the card. This information is almost always listed but if not, there are ways to go about finding it. You can perform a google search including the name of the player, card number and some of the details listed. You can also try using Google’s reverse image search so you can find more information using an image instead of text.
Vintage: Pre-1980 and Post-WWII (1945)
Pre-War: Before WWII (1941)
Vintage and pre-war collections can warrant a much higher value than modern cards in many cases, depending on the card's condition.
Identify Notable Players
Neglecting to identify key players in your collection could lead to money being left on the table and selling your cards for much less than you should have. If you don’t know who you’re looking for, do some research and use references such as the following to recognize anyone note-worthy.
- Greatest MLB players of all time
- Greatest NBA players of all time
- Greatest NFL players of all time
- Greatest NHL players of all time
Once you’ve identified these key areas of criteria you’re well on your way to determining the monetary value of your trading card or collection.
Evaluate the Condition of Your Cards
Any flaws will inherently affect your cards overall value. Do your best to analyze and call out any and all types of conditions present. This can include:
Clarity (out of focus)
Writing on the card
It’s important to note that while a card may be fresh out of a pack, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in mint condition. Manufacturing-related flaws do happen and will be a factor to include in the card's condition. This is particularly true for vintage and pre-war cards due to the use of less sophisticated processes and equipment that we use today.
Grading Your Trading Card: PSA & SGC
Grading is one of the most critical steps when selling sports cards so you’ll want to get familiar with how the grading system works. Why is this important? The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Sports Card Guarantee (SGC), and Beckett all help people value vintage sports cards and memorabilia by authenticating them and providing uniform standards for condition. Your card’s grade will undoubtedly be something potential buyers will look for.
According to PSA's 10-point grading system, each piece is assessed on a scale of 1-10. A card with a higher grade is more valuable.
It’s important to first determine the stats of your cards, key players and other details mentioned above before you jump to grading your cards so you can avoid spending too much on fees, shipping and insurance. Some cards will simply not be worth it.
PSA and SGC gradings will also assist you in your search when you look at comps. For instance, you’ll want to check recent eBay sales with related stats, conditions, and grading to see what similar cards have sold for.
Where to Sell Your Sports Cards
eBay is the go-to selling platform for most, especially for sports cards and collectibles. If you’re comfortable listing your own items, finding buyers on eBay is a viable option. The auction-style and fixed price options give your listings flexibility. eBay also offers sellers great reach with their vastly large audience.
Listing your own items also minimizes seller fees vs shipping and paying a specialty platform to list the product for you. However, for sports cards in particular buyers could be wary of scams purchasing from individual sellers vs. a reputable seller. Having your cards professionally graded, offering high-resolution photos and detailed listing descriptions will help instill confidence.
Selling on Facebook Marketplace is a great way to reach both local and distant buyers, and allows sellers to list and sell items locally for free. Items will incur a selling fee if it requires shipping. 5% for each shipment ($0.40 for sales of $8 or less). This makes the platform quite attractive since the fee is lower than most other platforms.
The best way to get started here is by joining local buy and sell groups, some specializing in sports cards.
However, while you can avoid steeper platform fees Facebook offers fewer seller protection benefits. Read up on how to avoid Facebook Marketplace Scams here
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is helpful in more ways than one. Depending on the desirability of your card it can be worth using their platform to grade and sell using their online forum. They are a trusted, reputable (and recognized) space in the collector community which will lend to the credibility of your listing. Sellers can upload photos for their sports memorabilia, vintage or modern, and then negotiate payment and shipping details directly with buyers.
Forums can be a great place to connect with other collectors, gather information and ask questions. Blowout Forums is a great example and although you are unable to sell directly on Blowout, threads exist for these sports and hobbies:
You might also like: 8 Reseller Tips from an Expert - To Succeed Selling Online
As sports memorabilia increases in popularity within the resale market, more and more online marketplaces are getting involved with the niche, such as StockX and The RealReal who are most popularly known for luxury clothing and streetwear. Have any rare cards? Share with us!